30 July 2008

Putting my life back together, or 忘れっぽい(`へ`;)

Here's what we know:

At 7:15, I bought a tall cafe latte at Starbucks and I am sure at this point that I had my wallet. I recall putting it in my pocket after I paid.
At 8:45, Greg and Erik and I went to the bank in Bandai, then to Yodobashi, then all the way to the bank in Furumachi, and then back to Bandai.
By then it was 9:45, and Greg and Erik left in Greg's car. I, feeling the need to use the bathroom, stood outside of LoveLa (the shopping center) waiting for it to open at 10:00.
At 9:50, I decided I wasn't going to make it and went to McDonald's. In the stall at McDonald's, I put my sunglasses down and thought, I need to remember to take those.
Then at 9:55, feeling much better, I exited McDonald's and road my motorbike about 5 km before thinking, you know, I wonder if I have my wallet. I often have this sense and it is usually just in my bag. I stopped my bike and realized it wasn't in my bag. Thinking it probably fell out in the bathroom, I went back to McDonalds. As I was going into the restaurant, a guy seemed to see me from inside and the run out, and when he rounded the corner (I could see him through the windows), he started walking again. Not convinced this had anything to do with me, I asked at the counter. No wallet. I checked the bathroom. They checked the bathroom. Nothing.
At 10:20, I went to the police box to see if anyone has returned it and they had nothing.
This is how I started my day

In Japan, you get really, really used to not worrying about stuff like this. Indeed, there is a high likelihood that my wallet will be returned in the next couple of days with all the cash in it. None of the credit cards have been used. But there is still some chance that this guy I saw had it, took the cash, and then threw the wallet away. Or somebody else.

I spent my afternoon on the phone with credit card companies and banks and the DMV, trying to piece everything back together with my shitty Japanese. Everyone is so helpful, but the process of getting a new credit card will take ten days. New bank card is 14 days. New Foreigner Registration Card is 14 days. The driver's license I can get immediately, but it is 4000 yen.

The wallet is really all that I want back. It was gift from Yoko's parents. It is the first real nice wallet I had. The cash I had in the wallet (about 8000 yen) would be nice, but not needed. I actually had to get a new cash card and foreigner registration card anyway, so the only thing I am wasting money on is the drivers license and the credit card.

The best conversation I had with someone today was on the phone with the DMV:
Me: Oh yes, hello, my name is Stephen Pihlaja and I lost my wallet this morning and it had my drivers license in it, so I need to talk to someone about getting a new one.
DMV Guy 1: Oh yes, of course.
Me: Thanks.
DMV Guy 1: Oh wait, are you a foreigner?
Me: Uh, yes, yes I am.
DMV Guy 1: Can you hold on a minute?
Me: Sure.
(Time passes)
DMV Guy 2: This is DMV Guy 2, can I help you?
Me: Oh yes, hello, my name is Stephen Pihlaja and I lost my wallet this morning and it had my drivers license in it, so I need to talk to someone about getting a new one.
DMV Guy 1: Oh yes, of course. What country are you from?
Me: I'm an American. (pause) But I just lost my drivers license so I need to replace it.
DMV Guy 1: You lost it? Your American license?
Me: No, no, my Japanese one.
DMV Guy 1: You have a JAPANESE license. Yes, then it's very easy. Did you lose it in America?
Me: No, no, I lost it this morning. (pause) In Niigata City. In Bandai.
DMV Guy 1: Oh yes, of course. (explains rules, hours, etc.)
Me: Thanks so much.
DMV Guy 1: So are you in America now?
Me: No! I'm in Japan. I'm calling from Shibata. I live in Japan.
DMV Guy 1: Oh yes, very good then you can come tomorrow.
Finally, not one to really put too much stock in perminitions — I believed for quite some time when I lived in Fukuoka that I was about to die in an accident — I put this out for what it's worth: Last week, just last week right around the time my Japanese visa came through and it looked like my paperwork was going to work out and nobody was going to try to stick me for my paper, I thought to myself, You know, I bet something stupid happens now like I lose my wallet. I gotta be careful.

In the midst of this, I am packing boxes and realizing that 32 kg is a lot more than I thought.